Irate residents of Nyasgon’go village in West Alego Ward of Siaya County are baying for the blood of a con artist who specialises in distributing fake currency notes.
The middle-aged man known as Joseph Ochieng Opondo alias “Japolo” is a Legio Maria adherent who operates between Nairobi, Siaya and Busia distributing fake currency notes.
On Monday afternoon Joseph was apprehended by a mob at Kodiere Market and handed a thorough beating before being bundled into the nearby Mwer Police Post. The following morning he was procedurally moved to Siaya Police station for processing to appear in court.
“When I checked with Siaya Court registry yesterday on which cases are lined up for plea taking (Court 1), only two files were forwarded to court, apparently Joseph Opondo’s file “was still at Mwer Police not brought to court,” says a concerned resident who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding “Why should Mwer Police transfer the suspect to Siaya Police Station in the morning but retain his file if negotiations for bribery were not going on?”
The arresting officer was in Siaya and meeting with the owner of the Mpesa whom the suspect had been apprehended offloading fake currency on. Someone privy to the discussions has revealed they were centered around the complainant dropping the case and the bribe being paid “now”…..within 30 minutes!
Two heifers were sold in Kabura. The heifer’s belonged to Joseph Opondo and not the last of his cattle hidden at his sister’s home, proceeds of fake currency distribution.
The nephew got the cash and rode back to Siaya. Joseph Opondo was released by the evening and is heading to his hideaway in Nairobi.
According to the local Chief, the proliferation of fake currency by this one individual is affecting local businesses in a big way. He even has a network of smaller currency distributors in small trading centres. “He will still be arrested. These fake currency is affecting k’Ojema, Hawinga, Sidundo, Uranga, Rabar, k’Odiere and even Apate where Mpesa deposits are in fake currency,” said the administrator.
The authorities and the locals are well aware of Joseph Opondo’s criminal activities that stretch back in time. He had, in addition, been arrested for the attempted murder of Otieno kaMusa (he was released on police complicity), the murder of his uncle Erustus Oduor (he was arrested, released, not arraigned), and an attempted murder of an Mpesa agent at Opar Sirinde. On Monday his rider Oketch Huda (a Bodaboda motorbike owner) ended up being thoroughly beaten by the mob in k’Odiere.
The irate villagers want reprisal but are cautious not to take the law in their own hands.